Welcome to the Carrying Matters website.

 It is important to support caregivers as they build a happy brain for their children. Soft touch and loving connections play a vital role in this. Babywearing safety matters; our guide to slings and our commitment to sling education will help parents and those who support them feel confident with “babywearing”.

The positive effects of soft touch, close loving contact, and meaningful connections are enormous, and investment early on in family life is well worth it. Holding and carrying is connection; it matters to children, their carers, and society. The close contact helps to build a happy brain, and creates the relationships that buffer against adversity and promote resilience and long term positive health outcomes. It also helps mothers to survive the “4th Trimester” period and the months and years ahead. Here you can find everything you need to know about how to carry your baby safely and well, why babywearing is so normal and useful, how to choose a baby carrier, and help for all sorts of circumstances.

This page is run by Rosie Knowles, the author of the book Why Babywearing Matters (you can get a signed copy here). She is a GP in Sheffield, a carrying advocate and babywearing expert. She is passionate about supporting parents and carers to be close to their children; holding, soft touch and carrying matters in so many ways.

carrying children matters, carrying matters, rosie knowles,

The simple act of connecting with a small person through the medium of loving touch has powerful and long-lasting effects on both child and carer. Babies need to be held close to encourage normal physiological and psychological development, especially in the early months.  Every child needs love and connection to grow normally: the absence of responsive and supportive relationships that involve loving physical touch will hamper a child’s potential. Mothers heal best with their babies close to them.

Children thrive when they are carried, resilience builds and families flourish when the needs of all its members are met. Carrying is connection; carrying matters!

carry me daddy

Keeping babies safe in any kind of baby sling or baby carrier is of paramount importance. The first most vital issue is to ensure that baby’s airway is open and unobstructed, with chin off the chest and the ribcage well supported. Babies’ temperatures should be considered too; they are surprisingly warm, and overheating can cause problems. Read more about sling safety here.


beco gemini

Secure attachment to other people is vital to human health and wellness; we thrive on relationship, on belonging. Such healthy attachments are the bedrock to future positive mental health and enjoyable relationships. However, 40% of children lack secure attachments, and are significantly disadvantaged. Encouraging carers to spend more time in close physical contact with their children is one way to improve children’s resilience and support everyone’s mental health. Soft touch is an essential part of building a happy brain and positive bonds that last a lifetime.

Read more about the importance of building secure attachments here, and how encouraging close physical contact can help build the resilience that children need to thrive despite adversity.


when the time comes to stop carrying

About Rosie

“I am a mum of 2, a family doctor in the UK (a GP), and a passionate advocate of building secure attachment relationships between children and their carers, due to the long lasting effects this has on future health. I believe that carrying children plays a large part in building such bonds, be it in arms or in a sling. With Carrying Matters, I focus on providing accessible information and education about this for parents and the professionals who support them. Sling and carrier use is not a new concept at all; but our Westernised society has lost the communal sharing of knowledge. We are no longer surrounded by a community of people who can help us get to grips with parenthood and share the load, so we need support in newer and more structured ways. This is what I do; empower people to keep their children close in a safe and positive way.”

Her book, “Why Babywearing Matters”, was published by Pinter and Martin in May 2016. It was translated into Polish “Dlaczego noszenie ma znaczenie?” by Nicminiewisi and Lenny Lamb in May 2018.  She has written for a wide range of publications, including Juno Magazine, and has a regular freelance blogging role for Boba (links can be found in the Blog section).

She founded the Sling Pages, an independent website listing all the known sling professional resources in the UK and Eire.

She is a practising GP in the UK with a particular interest in holistic medicine as well as children and women’s health and medical ethics. She began her career in hospital medicine but switched to general practice because of its flexibility with family life and the opportunities it presents to be more closely involved with communities, from cradle to grave. She has two children of her own, who have both been carried happily, and a husband who works alongside her at their local Sheffield premises. Rosie founded the Sheffield Sling Surgery and Library in 2013 and has supported thousands of parents across the South Yorkshire region, helped by a volunteer team of fantastic, committed parents who have found carrying their own children to be life-changing. They all want to help their fellow parents to discover this for themselves!


Rosie developed the “Fourth Trimester” sling meet model with her colleague Lindsay Snow, focusing on the needs of parents with bumps to four months. Families often struggle to deal with the biological needs of their new baby within the confined structures and expectations of modern society, which can be damaging to the building of secure attachments.

The needs of baby and caregivers are both important, as is the mental health and happiness of the whole family. Human beings were not designed to live in small isolated units but in supportive social groupings.

Holding babies close (in arms or in a soft sling) can be a very useful tool for families struggling with mental health disorders, pre, peri or postnatally. The close contact and the soft touch has biochemical hormonal effects that can help to reduce anxiety, improve feelings of wellbeing and connection, as well as lifting the mood. Read more about this here.

You can find your local sling library or sling meet by searching the Sling Pages resource, get in touch with them!

Using a sling (carrier) helps parents to keep their child as close as their biology needs, while also being able to function as adults in a demanding and inflexible world.


Rosie trains carrying advocates and sling/carrier peer supporters through the Born to Carry initiative, running courses in Sheffield and nearby. She has trained health care professionals, sling librarians, fitness course leaders and interested parents.

She lectures at conferences and gatherings around the UK and Europe about a range of topics, all related to early years parenting and how slings and carriers can make a huge difference to babies, their carers and to society.

peer supporter training
rosie knowles learning education carrying matters

“I’d highly recommend any enthusiast to attend this course. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and look forward to being able to use this new knowledge to help more parents discover the benefits of babywearing, as I have.”

“Rosie is a wonderful teacher, very clear and good at explaining. I felt she was well educated in her field and able to answer any question thrown at her. Also very friendly which made me feel comfortable and relaxed in a learning environment and confident to ask questions.”

Get in touch with her here.

1 day ago
Photos from Carrying Matters - Dr Rosie Knowles's post

#slingsharesaturday - with thanks to Wendy one of my local mamas!

“My boy was 2 yesterday and he's growing into a really independent but loving boy. I just wanted to share these 2 pictures. One of ... See more

3 days ago
TED

I listened to Nadine Burke Harris when she came to Scotland last year (and this year I will be seeing Gabor Mate, can't wait!)

Once we know what the problem is (the effects of chronic stress on ... See more

A difficult childhood isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Learn more about how it impacts your health in the long run.

Watch the full TED Talk here: http://t.ted.com/Myh5L4k

5 days ago
Photos from Carrying Matters - Dr Rosie Knowles's post

Have you thought about how your sling is actually a therapeutic tool for many, many things? Calming a distressed baby (and parent), lifting a low mood, a place to feed safely on the go, relief from ... See more

6 days ago

It’s walk to school week in the UK... do slings make your school run easier? I bet they do!!

I miss my little girl chatting in my ear on the walk home from dropping my son off!

Show us your ... See more

6 days ago

From the very special L.R.Knost - Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources.

It is unmet needs that create needs, not met needs.

Comfort your child when they ask for you; fill the emptiness inside ... See more

1 week ago
Photos from Carrying Matters - Dr Rosie Knowles's post

Did you know you can wrap a baby as soon as they arrive? This little love is two days old. Woven wraps are one of the best choices around for babies in this early stage, due to the soft flexibility; ... See more

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